CPG Companies Making Changes To Products Deemed Racially Insensitive

June 29, 2020

Following the George Floyd murder and subsequent protests, many major consumer packaged goods companies have decided to review and/or change the branding of products whose image can be characterized as racially insensitive—particularly in the food and beverage and personal-care space.

Recent headlines from Industry Intelligence show this trend in greater detail:

June 17: PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats business says it will remove the image of Aunt Jemima from its packaging and change the name of the syrup brand, citing the brand's origins in racist imagery of black people; brand name change will be announced at a later date

June 17: Conagra Brands announces review of its Mrs. Butterworth's brand, says while the brand is intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother, 'we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values'

June 17: Mars announces plans for a 'brand evolution' for its Uncle Ben's rice brand as a way to 'take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices'

June 18: Colgate-Palmolive reviewing name, logo, packaging for its Chinese toothpaste brand Darlie amid US racial-inequality unrest; brand was previously named Darkie, featured a man in blackface, and its current Chinese name still means 'black person toothpaste'

June 19: Johnson & Johnson to stop selling skin-whitening creams popular in Asia, India, Middle East due to renewed scrutiny of whitening products amid global unrest about racial inequality; J&J to drop Clean & Clear Fairness, Neutrogena Fine Fairness lines

June 21: Froneri to change the name and marketing of its nearly century-old Eskimo Pie chocolate-covered ice cream bar, the latest brand to tackle racially charged logos and marketing

June 23: Nestle to change the name of two of its confectionery products in Australia--Red Skins and Chicos--on the grounds that they have racial 'overtones'; Redskin is an offensive slang term that refers to Native Americans, while chico means 'boy' in Spanish

June 24: Nestle announces plans to rename and redesign its Beso de Negra candy product in Colombia because it has been deemed racially insensitive; Beso de Negra translates to 'kiss from a black woman'

June 25: Unilever to change name of its skin-lightening brand Fair & Lovely, which is sold across Asia, will end references to whitening, lightening or fairness on product packs and in communications, feature women of different skin tones in advertising

June 26: L’Oreal will remove words referencing 'white,' 'fair,' 'light' from its skin-evening products, including Garnier Skin Naturals White Complete Multi Action Fairness Cream; Unilever doing the same, while Johnson & Johnson ending sales of such products

Nevin Barich is the Consumer Products Analyst at Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. To arm yourself with the latest market intelligence, contact ClientCare@IndustryIntel.com or call 310-553-0008 if you’re interested in receiving or sharing the IMPACT report with your colleagues or partners.

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